Last month, we surveyed 2,200 developers to determine the “App Development State of the Union.” The survey’s objective was to determine priorities and pain points surrounding application development—from desktop to mobile—in organizations large and small.
The survey yielded many interesting results, but one finding from this survey stood out clearly: half of developers are not yet building mobile apps.
Furthermore, 80% of the developers surveyed said desktop would be a focus of their development efforts for the next 12-18 months,
while only 59% said mobile would be a focus of their future development efforts.
These survey results stand in stark contrast to daily headlines proclaiming desktop to be dead and heralding the arrival of the “post PC
” world. Clearly, for many developers, desktop
is still alive and remains a big focus of their future development efforts. However, this survey also shows a growing shift in priorities, as well as some big challenges preventing development teams from addressing the opportunities provided by mobile technologies.
Doing More, With Less.
Although many tech journalists might be surprised to see a headline proclaiming desktop to be alive and well, developers working on the front lines will probably be unsurprised. Many development teams have spent years developing custom desktop apps that are used daily within organizations to enable employees and customers.
Although the opportunity presented by mobile technologies is huge, accommodating these new form factors isn’t trivial. Development teams are often very busy supporting what they already have and left little time to spin up new mobile projects. In fact, in our survey “lack of time” was the most common pain point developers cited related to their application development.
When “lack of time” is combined with other frequently cited pain-points (“changes in technology”, “finding skilled developers”, “lack of tools”, “budget constraints”, “information overload”) a trend starts to emerge; developers are being tasked
to do more with less, even while technology evolves faster and faster.
Until very recently, mobile application development represented a new skillset
, a new code base and the abandonment of existing tools, services and technologies that development teams have historically relied on to do their jobs. Against this backdrop, it should not be surprising to us that mobile development lags in comparison to traditional desktop development.
Developers Are Shifting Their Focus To Mobile
Although our survey shows more than half of developers are not actively involved in mobile
app development, it would be wrong for anyone to interpret these results as an indication that mobile is unimportant. The shift to mobile IS happening and the opportunities provided by mobile technologies are very real.
In fact, when we contrast “current development efforts” with “future development efforts”, our survey shows a decline in desktop development (from 93% to 80%) and an increase in mobile development (from 48% to 59%).
The pendulum is swinging, but it’s swinging slower than many headlines would leave you to believe. This is good news for developers who are feeling hopelessly behind, but it also suggests the clock is ticking. Our daily interactions with our mobile devices have forever changed our expectations of what technology should be capable of. Increasingly, it will be critical that developers meet those expectations with cross-platform experiences.
Mobile Development Getting Easier
User expectations are steadily rising and developers are feeling increasing pressure to create cross-platform mobile experiences. However, as our survey shows, developers are simultaneously required to support existing desktop experiences and this, coupled with a lack of time and resources, is slowing their ability to address mobile technologies.
Our survey offers shows
evidence that the shift to mobile IS happening. However, it’s happening slower than many might’ve expected. This is because developers are forced to support a lot of existing desktop apps with limited time and resources for exploring new mobile opportunities. However, user expectations for mobile experiences are rapidly rising and developers are shifting their focus to meet those expectations. Given their resource constraints, developers will need to rely on tools that enable them to do more, with less.
View The Full Survey And Try The Telerik Platform
The full results from our “App Development State of the Union" survey are available for download by visiting the following link. Download the full "App Development State of the Union" survey results
In addition, earlier this year, Telerik launched it’s